PM's relief package for farmers declared violation of ECP code of conduct

Sep 30 2015

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The commission said relief offered in farmers' package wasn't part of the budget speech by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. —AFP/File
The commission said relief offered in farmers' package wasn't part of the budget speech by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. —AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday denounced the farmers' relief package announced by the prime minister as a violation of ECP code of conduct and barred the government from implementing it, DawnNews reported.

The decision was announced citing the reason that the relief offered through farmers' package was not part of the budget speech made by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

While giving an in-camera briefing to media, Secretary Election Commission Babar Yaqoob said that three pointers of the farmers' relief package came under criticism.

These three points listed here:

  • Rs5,000 per acre to the farmers to the extent of 12.5 acres.
  • 2 per cent reduction in rate of interest for rice and cotton growers.
  • Rise from Rs2,000 to 4,000 in production index unit of agricultural land.

Editorial: Farmers’ package

Earlier, the ECP had asked the government officials to explain the announcement of farmers' relief package by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ahead of the upcoming local body polls in Sindh and Punjab.

The prime minister had announced a relief package of Rs341 billion on September 15 to revive the farm sector.

The package provides a direct benefit of Rs147bn to small farmers across the country whereas an additional loan of Rs194bn will be available to the agriculture sector.

The ECP code of conduct for LG polls in Sindh and Punjab categorically states that the political parties and candidates participating in the elections shall not offer or announce any financial help to any person or institution after the announcement of schedule for elections.

Major opposition parties had already rejected the package for farmers and termed it a ‘pack of lies’ and gimmickry of the PML-N government aimed at influencing coming LG elections.

Through the aforementioned package, the government had decided to provide a cash support of Rs5,000 with immediate effect to the growers of cotton and rice as a direct relief.

The amount was supposed to be disbursed among the farmers owning a maximum of 12.5 acres of land. It will cost the government Rs20bn.

The amount will be equally shared by the provincial government concerned.